Living in hotel in Kargicak during the winter months is similar, I imagine, to living in an old folks home. Each week (or two) a new batch of freshly blue rinsed elders arrive, as those whose time has come to an end return whence they came. The main difference being those leaving, so far (thankfully), have done so on their own two feet.

The hotel is in maintenance mode, and each day brings with it a new gaggle of workmen to disrupt the peace. I’m situated at the end of a sixteen kilometre stretch of hotels and apartment blocks, packed in, row-after-row, most of which sit empty. The streets are quiet of people and loud with the construction of yet more blocks of concrete to blot the landscape. It seems almost every other shop is advertising property investment services, the sheer volume of which sends a silent image of bubbles bursting in front of my eyes.

Still, the conveniently positioned two lane dual carriage way situated between the concrete jungle and the beach doubles as an unusual source of entertainment; watching from the safety of my balcony, as holiday makers take their lives into their own hands in a real life game of Horrace (or Doris) goes sunbathing. Such sadistic behaviour wouldn’t normally occur to me, but I’ve been here for weeks, and, regrettably, it’s the best source of live entertainment I have.

After visiting Alanya during the first week of my stay, using the local buses, I was encouraged to learn the reason the bus drivers give cyclists so little room was due to having too few eyes. Yes, they simply don’t see them; they can’t text, drive and see cyclists at the same time. Marvellous. I haven’t used the buses since, favouring instead to ride Shurly Anne; it’s clearly not safer, but better for my mental health to avoid witnessing the worrying driving habits of those troublesome bus drivers. At least now it all makes sense.

The highlight this week was speaking to Mum, Dad, Jane, Mike, Finlay and Ewan on Christmas day, the boys are growing up so fast. I also received a bottle of Tabasco sauce and a chocolate and caramel crunchy Christmas tree from the Kirbys – yum! And a box of gourmet chocolate truffles from my big sis and family = Deee-Licious.

Finally, after a total of five visits to the local police station’s affectionately named ‘Aliens Department’, two visits to the local tax office, and parting with the best part of £100, I have been granted permission to continue my extra-terrestrial endeavours throughout Turkey until the 23rd of March. I had hoped to extend my stay by up to six months, which would have given me plenty of time to see out the winter before heading north. It now means I will be leaving, perhaps, as early as the 10th of February to collect an onward Visa in Erzurum. I would have been able to leave later, however, the visa office pretty much closes for the whole of March due to a religious holiday.

Discussions with Turkish residents about my plan to cycle to Erzurum in February have been met, firstly, with a look of surprise, followed by animated warnings about the terribly cold weather. One chap suggested temperatures of minus 40 degrees were common when he spent some time in the area a few years ago. The city was recently submerged under a several feet of snow. When you consider the city is nestled into a mountain range at a height of just under 2000 meters, only 500 meters lower than St Grand Bernard, it all seems perfectly reasonable.

The only saving grace numbing my senses from the anticipated loss of frostbitten limbs, is the overwhelming bounty of pleasure delivered by the prospect of leaving Kargicak early.

I’m off to go and watch the paint dry.

The post on goals is coming soon, just had to get that off my chest first; it was blocking my goal chi.

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